Sexual harassment training is a key tool for creating a safe and healthy working environment on set. In California, it’s also a legal requirement.
In this post, we’ll dig into everything you need to know about California sexual harassment training requirements and best practices. We’ll talk about what sexual harassment training California requires, when CA sexual harassment training requirements apply to your company, and how to integrate sexual harassment prevention training into your next production.
According to California Government Code section 12950.1, all employers with five or more employees must meet sexual harassment training CA requirements.
Critically, this applies to employers with five or more employees anywhere, not just within state limits.
If you employ an assistant in Los Angeles and four producers based in New York, you are still obligated to provide the sexual harassment training California requires to the Los Angeles-based employee.
If for any reason you are unsure that California sexual harassment training requirements apply to your company, the best course of action is to speak to a qualified attorney.
The sexual harassment training California requires will not apply to all production companies, but that doesn’t mean that sexual harassment training should be ignored. CA sexual harassment training requirements are among the strongest regulations in the U.S. They can help protect cast, crew, and the company itself at the highest legal standard possible.
Above all, the sexual harassment training California requires can help keep your employees and contractors safe. It’s a simple tool that can help ensure a healthy production environment and give your personnel more confidence.
Producers should think of sexual harassment prevention training as an extension of their best practices for set safety.
Providing the sexual harassment training California mandates can also help keep your production company safe and sound. As with tax compliance, satisfying CA sexual harassment training requirements can protect your company from legal and financial ramifications. If you do not provide training, your production company will have an elevated risk level for lawsuits, penalties, and production interruptions in the event that harassment occurs.
Simply put, providing adequate training is a win-win. By meeting California sexual harassment training requirements, everyone involved with your production can sleep a little more soundly.
The sexual harassment training California requires must address sexual harassment as well as abusive conduct prevention. The goal is for employees to be able to both recognize harassment when it occurs and take steps to prevent it from happening in the first place.
CA sexual harassment training requirements apply to employees in supervisory and non-supervisory roles. However, the sexual harassment training California requires is slightly different between the two.
Both supervisory and non-supervisory employees must receive training within six months of their hiring or promotion date and every two years thereafter. However, non-supervisory employees must receive one hour of training, while supervisory employees must receive two hours of training.
The sexual harassment training California requires may be completed in smaller increments or all at once.
The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) offers free online trainings that satisfy CA sexual harassment training requirements for supervisory and non-supervisory employees. Both training types are available in multiple languages and may be used instead of hiring an independent trainer.
For more information, check out this Sexual Harassment FAQ for Employers from the CRD.
In addition to the training itself, the Civil Rights Department requires that employers provide a handful of other support activities and resources.
You can find a comprehensive breakdown of these extra items and activities in the CRD’s Sexual Harassment Fact Sheet. We’ll summarize them below.
Employers are required to inform employees of their legal rights and obligations. Regarding the sexual harassment training California requires, that means distributing educational materials.
First, each employee should be given a copy of the above Sexual Harassment Fact Sheet or a similar document. This is effectively a written notice to ensure that each employee has been informed about the sexual harassment training CA mandates.
Second, employers must post a copy of the CRD poster entitled “California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment.” The poster should be displayed in a public place where it will be seen by all employees. On a film set, the production office is a natural choice of location.
Beyond education, both of these measures will help to create an atmosphere in which complaints can be brought safely and discreetly. Cast and crew members should feel comfortable communicating their concerns. Providing information publicly reinforces the idea that your production company is ready to listen.
Production companies should develop a written policy for harassment, discrimination, and retaliation prevention. This document reinforces the sexual harassment training California requires by integrating it into each company’s organization.
The core task of a written harassment policy is to define a clear process for filing and managing harassment complaints.
Official complaint procedures should prioritize confidentiality and an efficient process for addressing each report. Employees should be guaranteed an impartial and timely investigation of the complaint by a qualified professional, like an HR representative or impartial committee.
The process must generate adequate documentation and include appropriate options for remedial actions. It’s also important that workers be able to file complaints with someone who is not their immediate supervisor.
Once a harassment policy has been designed, it is equally important that it be well-communicated and effectively implemented. Employers are obligated to make sure that each employee has been given a copy of the policy.
The policy may be distributed on paper, by email, or in person. It is generally recommended that employers collect a signed document from each employee acknowledging the information’s receipt.
The sexual harassment training California requires must be carried out in a way that’s inclusive of the entire workforce. It needs to be both accessible and comprehensive for the employees it’s meant to serve.
For instance, if an employer’s workforce contains ten or more persons who speak a language other than English as their spoken language, employers are obligated to translate their harassment policy. A translation must be provided for every language spoken by at least ten percent of the workforce at a given location.
Similarly, the sexual harassment prevention CA mandates should not be overly limited in scope. California sexual harassment training requirements note that training must include examples of harassment on account of gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
Beyond the training requirements themselves, there are several topics that employers should consider when providing the sexual harassment training California requires. Below, we’ll dig into three key concepts for better sexual harassment policies, prevention, and training.
A critical element sexual harassment training and prevention is the ability to accurately identify harassment itself. Employers and employees should be able to recognize sexual harassment. They should also be able to distinguish it from other interpersonal issues, like personality conflicts or insensitive actions of a non-sexual nature.
To facilitate identification, sexual harassment can be broken into two basic types.
“Quid pro quo” sexual harassment occurs when an employment outcome (a job, promotion, or other benefit) is conditioned on an employee’s submission to sexual advances or other sexual conduct.
If something is offered in exchange for anything sexual, that offer is by nature “quid pro quo” sexual harassment.
“Hostile work environment” sexual harassment occurs if sexual comments or behavior unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance or creates an “intimidating, hostile, or offensive” working environment.
Notably, an employee can experience this type of sexual harassment even if the offensive conduct does not explicitly target them. Comments made between two employees could very well create an intimidating atmosphere for a third employee not involved in their conversation.
In both types, the harassment must be severe or pervasive to be considered unlawful. This is another reason why it’s important for production companies to design their own sexual harassment policy that defines clear boundaries.
The best way to ensure that all cast and crew members understand sexual harassment is to provide multiple ways to access training information. Ask any teacher, and they’ll tell you that repetition is the key to learning.
So the best practice for making sure your cast and crew understand California sexual harassment training is to give them more than one way to access it.
This is why items like your harassment policy, the CRD’s sexual harassment fact sheet, and workplace posters are all required in addition to the training itself.
In light of that fact, the training for sexual harassment prevention CA requires can be carried out in many forms. California sexual harassment training law mandates that employees undergo “effective interactive training.” That broad definition could include any of the following training types:
The goal of this variety is to ensure that training content provides an opportunity for effective learning. Employees should have access to information that caters to their individual learning needs.
It’s imperative that employers keep documentation of all employee harassment training for at least two years. These records prove that training was completed, which means they’re essential for complying with California sexual harassment training laws.
You can think of it in the same way that you would startwork. Maintaining records of these documents should be part of your standard production workflow.
Documentation for sexual harassment training should be as thorough as possible. At minimum, you’ll want to include names, dates, signatures, and copies of any certificates of completion or attendance.
It’s best to document the type of training completed, including copies of any materials used in the training as well as contact information for the training provider.
Records should be kept in your production company’s files, on premises at your offices or stored digitally per your preference.
Beyond the training for sexual harassment prevention CA requires by law, production companies should consider adopting the Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines provided by the Producers Guild of America.
Unlike CA employment laws, this free resource is designed specifically for navigating harassment within the unique environment that is a film set.
Generally, harassment policies are designed for day-to-day office environments, which makes their procedures an awkward fit for production. The PGA’s guidelines, however, go beyond California sexual harassment training requirements by outlining measures that can be directly applied to your next shoot.
The Producers Guild provides several recommendations, including:
Sexual harassment is a sensitive issue, and producers must strive to handle it with care. A safe, comfortable set environment is fundamental to a successful production.
Sexual harassment training is not a one-stop solution, but it is a critical first step. Through education, vigilance, and empathy, production companies can protect their teams and help ensure that film sets remain as healthy as they are fun.
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